While the NBA Finals have yet to begin, the Carmelo Anthony rumors have dominated the headlines for months now and it looks like they will continue to do so.
New York Knicks team president recently suggested that Melo “opt in” this year instead of opting out of his current deal and testing the free agent market.
It’s a move that both makes sense for the Knicks and Anthony, but also doesn’t make sense for Anthony at the same time.
Will Anthony elect to do it?
Let’s take a look.
Opting in is a huge bonus for Melo if he is just worried about signing with the highest bidder. The Knicks have said they want him to take a pay cut, but he can still opt in and pretty much hold the Knicks hostage to get a max deal as he is unlikely to get one from anyone else in the NBA.
If Melo opts out this summer and re-signs, his total contract could be worth as much as $129,135,806, and $22,458,401 in the first season, per ESPN salary cap guru Larry Coon (via ESPN’s Ian Begley).
However if he opts in and re-signs in 2015, Anthony’s total contract would be worth $140,875,420, and he’d be making $164,208,823 if you include his 2014-15 salary.
Anthony has stated that winning is his only priority but the reality is that he would only consider the Knicks this season because of money and New York can throw a boatload of it at him.
Then there is the fact that his options are limited as only the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers could have legitimate cap space to sign Anthony this summer and the Bulls and Rockets would have to alter their rosters to make it happen.
Anthony opting in also helps the Knicks out as they could get a good idea of the salary cap room that they will have in 2015 and can make the necessary moves during the season to free up more cap space.
They can show Anthony that they do have a plan and hopefully convince him to sign at a discount.
That makes opting in make a lot of sense for both Melo and the Knicks, but there is one kicker that could still drive him away.
Anthony wants to win.
Melo has stated that he doesn’t want to suffer through another losing season like he did last year and the Knicks don’t stand to be much better on paper right now.
That alone could make opting in a difficult decision for Melo.
But let’s say he does and the Knicks have another long and trying season.
Is that the way to convince him to re-sign?
Another losing season like that, which seems inevitable, and Jackson might as well drive Anthony out of town personally.
Dwight Howard opted in with the Magic and while it took him a while, he eventually got to where he wanted to be in Houston.
Anthony may take a similar route and while opting in may buy the Knicks some time, at the end of the day it simply doesn’t guarantee them anything.